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What Employers Look for in a CV

A CV is the very first point of contact between a job-seeker and an employer; and making this first impression a good one is critical in getting ahead in one’s career. TimesJobs conducted a study to reveal the elements a CV must (and must not) have, to be able to grab the employer’s attention and get shortlisted for an interview.

In a study of over 1,100 employers, TimesJobs highlights the most crucial elements that matter to recruiters when shortlisting a CV. Most employers prefer a two-page CV with no grammatical or spelling mistakes, while a CV with no specific details related to the job applied for gets a quick rejection, reveals the TimesJobs study.

“Your CV should be looked at as your elevator pitch – it is that small window of opportunity that you have to get the employer interested enough to call you for a detailed discussion. It is a good practice to get an outside expert’s help to highlight what you do best. As they can identify your areas of excellence, that you may not have identified yourself, and which could be crucial in turning things to your advantage,” says Nilanjan Roy, Head of Strategy, Times Business Solutions.

Don’t Make Spelling Mistakes

According to the majority (55%) of employers surveyed, avoiding grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are essential in making a decent first impression, and these mistakes are also the first thing that recruiters notice in a CV.

Highlight What Matters to the Job

Secondly, almost half of the employers feel a CV should reflect the candidate’s competencies and skills in performing the functions that the job requires. As 46% employers say a CV which doesn’t have details specific to the job role a candidate has applied for is the biggest let down for the recruiter.

“Candidates must leverage all resources available to them, TimesJobs, for instance, has some incredible tools for candidates to read reviews of companies, get insider interview tips, assess their own skills and benchmark their salary expectations. Highlighting aspects of their work relevant to the job role and company further displays their interest and eagerness to join the new organization,” adds Nilanjan Roy.

Not More Than two Pages

In addition, recruiters are simply not interested in a CV that is longer than two pages. Nearly 43% say the length of CV matters the most. Almost 80% employers find a two-page to be the ideal length and 20% even preferred a single-page CV.

Format for Clarity

Over 35% also give extra points to the readability aspects of a CV. Bad formatting such as abrupt paragraph breaks, overuse/underuse of bolds and italics and too many fonts are other annoying elements in a CV, state 33% surveyed recruiters.

Also, presentation of one’s professional journey in a logical order matters significantly say 28% recruiters. While a well-formatted CV adds appeal state 20% of the surveyed recruiters, in the TimesJobs study.

Look Professional

Nearly 27% recruiters advise against using unprofessional e-mail IDs in a CV. According to 35% recruiters, more than a quarter of the CVs they scan in a month have unprofessional/absurd email-ids. While 12% recruiters are irked to see a CV with a photograph of the applicant.

While 55% candidates send their CVs in pdf format, 68% recruiters prefer a word document, 30% favor a PDF format and 2% prefer an image format, reports the TimesJobs study.

A demographic analysis reveals that CVs of mid-level candidates tend to have a greater rate of annoying elements. Nearly 44% recruiters say that they find most annoying elements in CV of job-seekers who have applied for mid-level positions. About 36% recruiters say that they encounter more annoying errors in CVs of junior level job-seekers and 20% say they find senior level CVs most trying to scan through.

Drop the Cover Letter

Further, the TimesJobs study uncovered another interesting fact, that a cover letter is not essential to employers. Only 10% of the surveyed recruiters state that a covering letter is important. Almost 72% employers say that while a covering letter adds value it is not an important document. While 18% recruiters state that a cover letter holds no significance at all.


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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Business Sandesh Group and is published from a syndicated feed.)